Postmodern consumer capitalism, political tribalism, growing wealth inequality, a stagnant middle class, anti-intellectualism, anti-science religiosity, 'exceptionalism' and fearmongering have led 21st century America into the shallows of societal decline. The challenges facing us are mind-numbing and nearly overwhelming.
Consequently, it is imperative that solid citizens dedicate themselves anew to vigorous curiousity, critical thinking, creativeness and serious contemplation.
Nearly sixty-five years ago, ten guiding principles for meaningful civic engagement were offered to us by one of the 20th century's great minds.
Published in December 1951, Nobel Prize recepient Bertrand Russell, authored these 'Ten Commandments' to provide guidence and wisdom in pursuing our daily lives and as advice for particpating forthrightly in our community. Particularly in a representative democracy it is incumbent upon us as good citizens to challenge complacency, comfortablity and convention.
Bertrand Russell’s Ten Commandments for Living in a Healthy Democracy
- Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
- Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
- Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.
- When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.
- Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
- Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
- Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
- Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
- Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
- Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.